May Govender

May Govender

Chief Information Officer at Old Mutual Limited

Old Mutual Limited
Old Mutual has undertaken a transformation by migrating its entire IT infrastructure to the cloud, paving the way for leveraging data and AI innovation

Old Mutual Limited is a premium African financial services group that offers a broad spectrum of financial solutions to retail and corporate customers across key markets in 14 countries.

With 179 years of heritage across sub-Saharan Africa, Old Mutual continues to play a crucial part in the communities it serves as well as in broader society. Old Mutual commenced its digital transformation in 2017 with the aim of using technology to leapfrog its journey to enable its business strategy. The organisation aimed to modernise its operations by using cutting-edge technology but faced obstacles due to its outdated infrastructure and architecture.

As a result, the organisation went on a journey to modernise its infrastructure resulting in a decrease of its on-premises data centres footprint. The modernisation journey led to the migration of its technology infrastructure with a focus on life insurance, and wealth management systems – to Amazon Web Services. This, says Old Mutual’s Group CIO May Govender, has proven to be the leapfrog to its transformation journey. Joining the business in 2021 as Deputy CIO and then shortly thereafter stepping into the acting Group CIO role in 2022 before formally being appointed in 2023, stated that this step has laid the foundation for its digital transformation and has opened avenues for the organisation to pursue cutting edge solutions to meet its business challenges.

“Old Mutual is a 179-year-old organisation, so – as you can imagine – it comes with a lot of complexity and challenges. However, the most exciting development for me in the last three years has been Old Mutual's digital and people transformation journey.”

For an insurance organisation – not traditionally known for rapid change and execution – this transformation has been remarkably swift. “For us to leapfrog and achieve our ambition, we realised we had to take a two-pronged approach. We needed to fix the current issues we were experiencing and get the foundational elements right. At the same time, we needed to figure out what our tomorrow looks like today. The cloud migration was a step towards building for a tomorrow that aligns with our strategy and ambition.”

Holding a BSc degree and an MBA from Henley Business College, Govender began her career as an IT lecturer, accumulating over 22 years of experience in the IT industry across various sectors, including financial services, banking, professional services, telecommunications, public sector, and retail.

Throughout her career, Govender has taken on diverse roles within the technology field. She has led a number of technology domains like infrastructure, architecture, engineering and project management office (PMOs). Her strength lies in the implementation of transformational programmes. Her experience ranges from multinational organisations to a digital startup. She has served on the boards in an advisory capacity for both industry-regulated organisations and fintechs. 

As Govender describes, Old Mutual did not have the benefit of time when it came to implementing its transformation. The imperative was clear: to get the organisation moving at the pace required for the new digital era. “We did not have the luxury of waiting four to five years, we knew that we needed to make a difference now.”

The two-pronged approach kicked into gear – one track focusing on ripping out legacy infrastructure, the other focused on evolving the customer experience. “We had to work simultaneously to phase out our legacy infrastructure very quickly, while also recognising the importance of transforming our customer proposition and experience. 

“Presently, customers encounter a diverse range of experiences across various industries, from companies like Google and Netflix to convenient banking services on the go. These encounters significantly shape customers' expectations regarding what constitutes a positive experience. As an insurance organisation, it's imperative for us to stay abreast of these customer trends and meet their evolving expectations.” 

“Our biggest challenge in achieving this ambition was the ability to execute at pace as we didn’t have the luxury of time to have the foundational elements and technologies in place; so really it's about how we fix the aeroplane while it's in flight.”


Make sure you check out the latest industry news and insights at InsurTech and also sign up to our global conference series - Tech & AI LIVE 2024


InsurTech is a BizClik brand

Old Mutual Limited
Old Mutual Limited

Featured Articles

UHG CEO Witty Admits Hack hit Third of US Citizens' Data

US congressional hearing learns from UnitedHealth Group CEO Andrew Witty that Change Healthcare cyberattack compromised data of third of the US population

Allianz Announces Partnership With Clearspeed

Emerging scams like moped fraud and shallow fakes pose new challenges to insurers, so more sophisticated detection systems are crucial

Milliman Arius: Reserve Analysis with an End-to-End Solution

Insurers face risks and errors with current reserve analysis methods – and Arius provides the answer

Allstate: BCG Partner Harnesses Gen AI to Transform CX

Technology & AI

Comarch Diagnostic Point: Next Gen European Health Insurance


MoneyLIVE Summit 2024: Qover Talks Embedded Insurance